(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly is calling for an expansion of the one-mile radius around the train derailment site in Ohio.
The radius was established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and only included 22 Pennsylvania homes. With an expanded radius, more Pennsylvania families would be eligible to receive assistance.
As an example in an announcement from Kelly’s office, Lawrence County is just three miles from the derailment site.
“The people of Lawrence County deserve answers now. They deserve to know if their well water is safe to drink and if their soil is safe to plant ahead of the upcoming farming season,” Kelly said. “The evidence has shown that wildlife has been negatively impacted by chemicals and hazardous materials for miles around the crash site. Local residents have expressed serious concerns that their own land and water may be as well. It’s time for answers.”
On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania state line. The derailment of the 50 cars caused a large fire and led to an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency.
Some of the train cars had vinyl chloride, a hazardous chemical associated with increased risk of cancers. Other chemicals being transported by the train were ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene.
To prevent an explosion, emergency crews decided to take a controlled venting and burning approach. Now residents are concerned about lingering environmental impacts, and potential impacts to air and water.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up all contamination associated with the train derailment.